You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 5-2 loss to Chicago in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semi-Final.
…Off a rebound from a Patrick Sharp point shot, Marian Hossa scooped the puck past Roberto Luongo to give Chicago a 4-2 lead and deflate the Vancouver crowd in a 5-2 Blackhawks win.
In a reversal of fate it was Chicago taking a 2-0 lead in the first period off goals from Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien, but unlike Game 2 when the Blackhawks dented Vancouver’s two-goal advantage en route to a comeback win, the Canucks couldn’t get any of their 16 shots past Antti Niemi early on.
That changed midway through the second frame when Jannik Hansen solved the keeper with a tough tip off an Alex Edler point shot. The goal woke the Canucks, but the Blackhawks were able to regroup and mount an attack that led to Byfuglien’s second power play goal of the game just 2:17 later.
Far from deterred, Vancouver pressed on and when it needed a goal the most, in the final minute of the period, Alex Burrows came to the rescue. Cutting from left to right, Burrows snapped the puck past Niemi blocker side to cut the Chicago lead to 3-2.
Niemi stymied Vancouver’s early attack in the third and weathered the storm until Hossa gave Chicago a 4-2 cushion with 12:15 to play. Adding insult to injury was that a puck deflecting in off Byfuglien for the final Blackhawks goal giving the detested forward his first career playoff hat trick.
In a rough and tumble game that had 13 minors called and three 10-misconducts assessed, the Blackhawks were able to capitalize on both the momentum from the scrums and the power plays that ensued. Chicago was 2-for-6 on the power play, while Vancouver failed to hit the scoresheet with the man advantage for just the second time this post-season going 0-for-4.
On a night that could have played out with Niemi stealing the show with a shutout, two Canucks were able to solve him. For one it was a jubilant first, for the other it was a sigh of relief.
Jannik Hansen scored Vancouver’s first goal; working along the boards down the left side in the Chicago zone, Hansen sent a puck to the point that Alex Edler rattled on goal. Before the blueliner cocked his shot, Hansen weaseled his way to the front of the net in time to tip the point shot past Niemi.
The goal was the first post-season score of Hansen’s career; he’s appeared in 21 playoff games dating back to the 2006-07 season and now has four points (1-3-4).
With time winding down in the second period and the Canucks trailing by two goals, no one was more relived to see Alex Burrows score than Alex Burrows.
The feisty winger, who had one goal in eight playoff games coming in, had gone 14 games dating back to the regular season without scoring a non-empty net goal. After ripping a shot past Niemi, Burrows pulled out his classic bow and arrow tribute to Luc Bourdon.
Alex Edler and Sami Salo were both on the ice for Vancouver’s two goals with each nabbing a pair of helpers in a losing cause.
While Salo had the second assist in both instances, Edler provided a key blast on the Hansen goal and sent Burrows streaking in for his score. Edler now has a goal and four assists in nine games leaving him three points back of his career high of eight points from a season ago, while Salo is sitting at six points (1-5-6), one shy of his personal best of seven from last year.
Although Edler and Salo were on the ice for both Chicago power play goals, neither finished with a negative rating at plus-1 (Edler) and even (Salo).
Special teams haven’t been Vancouver’s bread and butter this post-season, the power play goals against in the Los Angeles series are proof of that.
The Canucks had managed to find a way to score power play goals, though, with at least one in all but one playoff game coming into Game 3. Make that two games now as the home side finished 0-for-4 with five shots.
With special teams up and down, Vancouver has been priding itself on outdueling its opponent while competing 5-on-5 and that was a major strength of the team through seven games with the Canucks outscoring the opposition at even strength in every game.
Only twice have the Canucks been outscored 5-on-5 and both times have played out in the last two games, a pair of Vancouver loses. No coincidence there.
Roberto Luongo on if Chicago has momentum in the series following Game 3 and if the Blackhawks got the Canucks off their game in the discipline department:
”Momentum is overrated. Everybody said we have the momentum after Game 1, now everybody is saying they have momentum, so it doesn’t really matter. Last series we were down in LA, same thing, 2-1, so it’s one game at a time, we’ve got to come back tomorrow, have a good practice, work hard, make sure we do the good things on the ice and come next game ready to play right away.
”Once the game’s over, obviously things tend to happen, that’s why we don’t want to have anything after the whistle, especially when the game is on the line. I don’t think Burr really did anything there, but that’s just the way it goes. That’s why you want to stay out of it, to avoid any calls like that.”
Pivotal Game 4 will go down Friday night at General Motors Place with the Canucks in need of their biggest win of the season.
Despite trailing 2-1 in the series, Vancouver has already been in this position once this post-season as the Los Angeles Kings seemingly had the Canucks painted into a corner before Vancouver won Game 4, 5 and 6 to take the opening round series in six games.